We were just looking for a sheltered anchorage and stumbled on this place almost by accident on a sailing trip around the islands east of Phuket. We anchored in a beautiful, peaceful bay and went ashore to see what was what. This is why tourists started coming to south Thailand in the first place, and why so many of the once pristine paradises (but not this one) have been ruined. A beautiful, fine white sand beach overhung by shady trees whose branches reached out almost to the shoreline. Crystal clear water ranging from green to blue to grey depending on the sun (which sets gloriously over Phuket island) a few longboats drawn up on the beach and a smallish resort consisting of individual bungalows, some with pools (but there is a perfectly good communal pool.)
The loudest sound comes from the waves lapping up on the beach and the mina birds. A row of tables on a terrace just the other side of a low retaining wall from the beach provide both shaded (essential during the day) and exposed (nice in the evening) dining options or just a place to have a drink and relax. The menu is simple with a modest array of choices but the food is excellent (there was a particularly toothsome duck and lychee curry but it was all good.) Food prices were not the steal that people have come to expect in Thailand but that seemed to us to be increasingly rare on this trip but they are modest by US standards for what was served.
There is a dive shop on the premises and a spa that offers a two hour Thai massage for 800 baht (about one eighth of the rate at the JW Marriott that we stayed at, and loved, on Phuket.)
Service was slow by US fast-food standards but who is in a hurry? We even managed to make it out after dinner just before the reef became too exposed at low tide to get our dinghy over it. The wait staff is friendly, helpful within the limits of our mutual ability to communicate, beautifully attired and generally a pleasure. The proprietor/chef and his Czech girlfriend speak excellent English and are readily available so when we wanted to order a bottle of wine to take with us after our meal, we sorted it out with them to make sure no one opened it.
Apart from the pool and the bungalows, there is an open air reception hall and cooking facilities . Other commercial establishments are available on the island but not within walking distance.
We did not stay in one of the bungalows so all we know about them is what we could see from the outside. They seemed clean, neat and inviting.
After the tourist hordes in Patong and Phi Phi this place was a blessed relief. We were not fortunate enough to have gone to these places when they were still unspoiled but, judging from the pictures, they looked a lot like the Glow/Elixir resort does today. I would come back in a heartbeat, whether I was sailing or not.
If you are looking for a beautiful, peaceful tropical beach resort, this is your spot. It is simple without being primitive, relaxing without being boring (at least for us.) The length of your stay should be based on how long you would like to kick back and relax because that's the deal both at the resort and, as far as we could tell, on Ko Yao Yai generally.
Do not come to this resort if:
You want an organized activity list that will fill up several days;
You really crave the Patong party scene;
You don't like the fact that the staff's English is sometimes almost as bad as your Thai (in fact, if that bothers you, do all of us a favor and go to some other country;)
You think that anything above youth hostel prices are exorbitant; or
You crave marble imported western style luxury in your accommodations.
If these things don't bother you, you will be insanely happy here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai is an ideal island resort situated on a peaceful and private beach on KohYao Yai in Phang Nga. The 35 midscale all-villa property sits on a 300-meter stretch of beach just steps away from the glistening Andaman Sea.GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai is the first GLOW by Zinc resort worldwide and the third property in Thailand.The resort features 35 private suites/villas in contemporary tropical design with a rustic island style set amongst lush tropical gardens. The unique island layout provides each of the villas with a stunning sea view and direct access to the enticing beach of the Andaman Sea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Elixir Hotel Koh Yao Yai
- Elixir Resort Koh Yao Yai